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Hodler’s Digest, Dec. 3-Dec.9: US SEC Delays BTC ETF Decision Again, While Nasdaq Confirms 2019 BTC Futures Launch

The United States SEC has delayed their Bitcoin ETF decision yet again, and Venezuela’s Petro is raised 150 percent in value.

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Top Stories This Week

US SEC Delays Bitcoin ETF Decisions, Changes Deadline to Late February

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has again postponed its decision regarding approval for a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) this week.

According to a document released by the SEC, the new deadline is Feb. 27, 2019, and they will take the extension to further review the rule change proposals needed to list the BTC ETF.

The financial instrument was proposed by investment firm VanEck and blockchain company SolidX, with plans to list it on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). Legally, as the proposed rule change was first published in the Federal Register on July 2, 2018, the maximum period of consideration falls 240 days later, on Feb. 27, 2019.

Venezuelan President Maduro Raises Petro’s Value by 150 Percent

Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela, has raised the reference value of the national cryptocurrency, Petro, from 3,6000 to 9,000 sovereign bolivars. Speaking in Caracas this week, Maduro also ordered an increase in the monthly minimum wage by 150 percent, the sixth increase in 2018 and 25th in total during Maduro’s presidency.

At the same time, Venezuela also devalued Dicom, the official exchange rate in the country, bringing the national fiat down around 40 percent from 96.84 sovereign bolivars per dollar on Nov. 30 to 171.67 the following day.

Nasdaq Confirms Bitcoin Futures Launch for First Half of 2019

Nasdaq, the world’s second-largest stock exchange, has confirmed plans to launch Bitcoin futures in the first half of 2019. VanEck Director of Digital Asset Strategies Gabor Gurbacs told Cointelegraph that the firm has been discussing futures with Nasdaq, MVIS Indices, and other market participants for “about 18 months.”

According to Gurbacs, the new offering will differ from those trading on the on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) with its transparency and resiliency.

Major Crypto Exchange Binance to Launch ‘Binance Blockchain’ Soon

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volumes, will launch its own blockchain “Binance Chain” in the “coming months,” according to a tweet this week. The upcoming blockchain will allow persons to create new cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offering (ICO) tokens. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) noted that the new plans are actually a response to the “old vision” of crypto, which will then lead to increasing adoption on a global scale.

Crypto Exchange ErisX Raises $27.5 Mln in Funding from Fidelity, Nasdaq, Others

Crypto exchange ErisX has raised $27.5 million from stock exchange Nasdaq and Fidelity, which administers over $7.2 trillion in client assets, among other clients. According to media reports, ErisX will offer both spot trading in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC), as well as futures markets in the following year, pending regulatory approval.

Previous reports had noted that ErisX could include Bitcoin Cash (BCH) support, but this week’s news did not include the altcoin. According to ErisX CEO Thomas Chippas, the investment’s purpose is to hire staff and “build out our infrastructure and secure the appropriate steps are taken to develop a regulated market for digital assets.”

Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Hester Peirce

“Definitely possible could be 20 years from now, or it could be tomorrow. Don’t hold your breath. The SEC took a long time to [establish] Finhub. It might take even longer to approve an exchange-traded product,” — Hester Peirce, commissioner of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), speaking about Bitcoin ETF approval

Justin Sun

“#TRON will build a fund to rescue #ETH and #EOS developers from the collapse of their platform as long as those developers migrate their dapps to #TRON,” — Justin Sun, TRON CEO

Laws and Taxes

Laws And Taxes

US: Two New Bills Focusing on Crypto Market Manipulation, Regulations Introduced

Two new bills in the United States were compiled this month that focus on crypto market manipulation, with the aim to “position the United States to be a leader in the cryptocurrency industry.” The “The Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act of 2018” and “The U.S. Virtual Currency Market and Regulatory Competitiveness Act of 2018” will go before the House of Representatives, and were a bipartisan effort from congressmen Darren Soto and Ted Budd.

Swiss Finance Minister Prefers Current Laws, Rejects Creation of Blockchain Legislation

Ueli Maurer, the Swiss Minister of Finance, has rejected a possible blockchain law in a speech at blockchain conference this week. Switzerland plans to work with existing laws in order to regulate and legislate the new technology and its financial applications, as opposed to introducing a specific blockchain or crypto legal framework, according to Maurer. The government expects to propose changes to six laws, including the civil code and bankruptcy law, in 2019.

New York Financial Services Department Approves Blockchain Digital Payment Platform

The Department of Financial Services of New York (NYDFS) has authorized a blockchain-based digital platform offered by New York-based Signature bank. The financial services department will allow the bank to offer its digital payment platform Signet in the state, which uses blockchain tech to allow bank clients to “transfer ‘Signets’ to make payments with no transaction fees, at any time of the day, year-round.” The department noted that Signet has been subject to a “comprehensive and rigorous review” and needs to comply with “significant regulatory conditions.”

US Congressman Plans to Introduce Federal Cryptocurrency and ICO Regulation

Republican U.S. Representative Warren Davidson announced plans this week to introduce legislation on a federal level to regulate both cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). The new bill would create an “asset class” for both crypto and digital assets, which “would prevent them from being classified as securities, but would also allow the federal government to regulate initial coin offerings more effectively.”

G20 Leaders Call for Global Cryptocurrency Taxation and Regulation Systems

After their meeting this week, the G20 countries have called for the taxation of cryptocurrency, as well as its regulation to combat money laundering. According to a Japanese news outlet Jiji.com, the final text of a G20 document asks for a “taxation system for cross-border electronic payment services.” The document then continues that under the current laws, foreign companies without a base in Japan cannot be taxed by the local government, noting the need for this taxation system.

Adoption

Adoption

Mastercard Files Patent for Anonymization Method for Blockchain Transactions

Mastercard has filed a patent for a system that anonymizes transactions on a blockchain. According to the filing, the “the use of one or more intermediary addresses to obscure the source and destination of funds in a blockchain transaction” can be used in order to “increase anonymity of entities associated with blockchain addresses.” The system outlined by Mastercard would consist of a series of “anonymization request[s]” designed to anonymize the transactions themselves, rather than just the user behind any individual wallet.

Switzerland’s ‘Crypto Valley’ Ranked the ‘Fastest-Growing’ European Tech Hub

Zug, Switzerland, which is also known as “Crypto Valley,” has been ranked the fastest-growing tech community in Europe. According to the “State of European Tech” report from London-headquartered global technology investment firm Atomico, Zug tops the list in a comparison of year-on-year growth of attendees to tech-related “meetup” events per European city. The report notes that Zug has a 117 percent increase as compared with 2017.

More Than One Third of German Big Businesses See Blockchain as Important as Internet

A recent survey has shown that over one third of big businesses in Germany consider blockchain technology to be as revolutionary as the internet. The survey, conducted by the German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (Bitkom), found that 15 percent of German companies think blockchain will “change society and the economy as much as the Internet.” Larger companies, with 500 or more employees, were more than twice as likely to hold that opinion, at 36 percent.

Abu Dhabi Int’l Financial Free Zone Completes Phase of Blockchain-Based KYC Project

The Abu Dhabi Global Market’s (ADGM) regulatory body, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), along with Big Four audit firm KPMG, released a review of the blockchain-based Know Your Customer (KYC) utility project this week, calling it a “successful” first phase. An international financial free zone in the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) worked on the project for four months, along with a consortium of major UAE-based financial institutions. The review notes the use of cryptography and digital signatures can support a more secure and convenient system for upholding KYC industry standards.

US Air Force Graduate Schools Develops Blockchain-Based Supply Chain Tool

The graduate school for the U.S. Air Force has developed an educational tool based on blockchain technology for managing supply chains. The tool is a live application and a set of tutorial videos released by the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). According to their report, “blockchain will revolutionize […] the digital infrastructure for future supply chains,” which can translate into “better visibility” for the military’s “extremely complex logistics network.” The Institute worked with private supply chain security firm SecureMarking and the University of South Dakota Beacom School of Business.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Seven Southern EU Member States Sign Declaration to Promote Blockchain Use

Seven southern European Union members states — Malta, France, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, and Greece  — have released a declaration calling for the promotion of distributed ledger technology’s (DLT) use in the region. The document notes blockchain tech’s use in protecting citizens’ privacy and making bureaucratic systems more efficient, as well as its potential for use in the “education, transport, mobility, shipping, Land Registry, customs, company registry, and healthcare” industries.

Hardware Wallet Ledgers Partners with German Startup to Create Security Token Framework

Crypto hardware wallet firm Ledger and crypto startup Neufund have announced a partnership to let users manager security tokens through Ledger’s desktop application. The collaboration aims to develop an overall framework for security tokens. In addition, Ledger Live, which is a recently launched desktop app for crypto asset management, plans on “soon” adding an ERC-20 integration, which will let users manage security tokens issued via Neufund’s set of protocols.

US Trading-Comms Firm Partners With Blockchain Consortium R3

American trading-communications firm IPC system and enterprise blockchain software consortium R3 have partnered this week. IPC is known for producing trading turrets, i.e., communications systems used by financial traders on their trading desks. With the partnership, IPC will support R3’s Corda blockchain networks on its Connexus Cloud platform — a financial markets cloud-based platform for data, voice, and business communications and compliance.

Four Blockchain Companies Jointly Launch ‘Blockchain for Europe’ Association

Four major blockchain companies — Ripple, the NEM Foundation, Emurgo, and Fetch.AI — have formed a “Blockchain for Europe” Association. The organization’s aim to promote understanding and proactive regulation of blockchain and other distributed ledger (DLT) technologies across Europe, addressing the EU’s “fragmented” policy debate around blockchain. The organization will use education about the technology in the member states in order to advocate for future “smart” regulation, conducive to innovation, that will help the continent “shape the global agenda” on blockchain.

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

Overstock.Com’s Blockchain Venture Arm Purchases Equity in Blockchain Agri Project

Medici ventures, Overstock.com Inc.’s blockchain venture arm, has purchased $25 million in equity in agricultural blockchain project GrainChain. The project has developed a blockchain-powered system for the tracking of supply chain parties in the distribution process of harvests, allowing producers, buyers, and sellers to create smart contracts in order to secure funds throughout the grain transaction process. The platform is aimed at small- and medium-scale farmers, which can then remove the middlemen and conduct business outside of their immediate geographic area.

Seven New Funds in Ohio Plan $300 Million Investment for Blockchain Startups

Seven Ohio-based funds and other investment teams will contribute $300 million in investments into blockchain startups through 2021, as announced this week by executives. Speaking at a blockchain conference, the CEO of nonprofit JumpStart Ray Leach announced that the seven funds with investing $100 million in “early-stage startups that focus on using blockchain technology for business or government.” As well, “additional investment teams” will add $200 million for blockchain outfits working within Ohio’s social welfare projects, dubbed “Opportunity Zones.”

Sequoia Capital, Huobi Participate in $35 Mln Funding for Scalable ‘Blockchain’ Network

A new blockchain-type network led by a Turing Award recipient and various other academics have received $35 million in funding from investors including Sequoia Capital, IMO Ventures, FreesFund, Rong 360, Shunwei Capital, F2Pool, and major crypto exchange Huobi. The network, dubbed “Conflux,” aims to tackle blockchain scalability, proclaiming that its new testnet is capable of processing ”at least 6,500 Transactions Per Second (TPS), while supporting at least 20,000 nodes.”

Winners and Losers

Winners And Losers

BTC ETH

The market is holding steady after a week of declines, with Bitcoin trading at around $3,489, Ripple at $.30, and Ethereum at $91.99. Total market cap is at about $110 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are TittieCoin, Bastonet, and TRONCLASSIC. The top three altcoin losers of the week are FREE Coin, Etheera and RabbitCoin.

For more info on crypto prices movement, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
 

FUD of the Week

FUD Of The Week

Former Israeli PM Calls Crypto a ‘Ponzi Scheme,’ But Thinks Blockchain Is Important

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak compared digital currencies to Ponzi schemes but noted the importance of blockchain technology. Barak, who participated in the Camp David Accords in 2000, now serves as the chairman of medical marijuana producer InterCure. When asked about the comparison of the alleged marijuana investment “bubble” to crypto, Barak underlined that “he would never invest” in cryptocurrencies as “Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies [are] a Ponzi scheme.” However, Barak added that blockchain technology and smart contracts are important and useful technological and mathematical concepts.

US Securities Regulator Issues Cease and Desist to Delaware-Based Digital Asset Fund

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a cease and desist against CoinAlpha Advisors LLC in addition to ordering a $50,000 penalty to be paid. The company had allegedly raised over $600,000 from 22 investors in at least five states, purchasing limited partnership interest in the fund in exchange for a proportional share of any profits derived from the fund’s investment in digital assets. However, even those CoinAlpha filed an exemption notice with the SEC in November 2017, the company was not registered with the SEC, meaning that they violated securities laws.

Chilean Supreme Court Rules Against Crypto Exchange Over Bank Account Closure

The Chilean Supreme Court has ruled against crypto exchange Orionx in a case over the right for state-owned bank Banco del Estado to close the exchange’s account. The high court revoked the July decision that protected Orionx and ordered the bank to reopen the account, with the court decision noting that the nature of cryptocurrencies prevents banks from receiving detailed information on transactions, customers, and companies that interact with the assets. The court has ruled that the bank did not violate any aspect of the Chilean constitution.

South Korean Financial Authority Warns 2 Banks Over Poor Crypto Transaction System

A financial authority in South Korea has warned major domestic banks Kookmin Bank and Nonghyup Bank over their lack of management of cryptocurrency transactions and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulation. The country’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) has found that the banks had “unreasonable elements related to virtual [currency] handling business.” The banks have also been given orders for improvement and must submit the measures to the FSS within three months or face more “direct sanctions.”

BTC

Prediction Of The Week

Quoine CEO: Bitcoin Will Surpass Last Year’s All-Time Highs by End of 2019

Mike Kayamori, the CEO of Japanese fintech firm and crypto exchange operator Quoine, said in an interview this week that he believes Bitcoin (BTC) will “surpass” its all-time price highs by the end of 2019. He also noted that the bottom is near for the top coin, citing the pressure on Bitcoin miners as an accurate sign of its coming. Kayamori added that the better practices across the industry, Japan’s crypto ecosystem, in particular, is experiencing a period of “consolidation.”

Best Cointelegraph Features

Best Cointelegraph Features

G-20 Summit Results: Crypto Is Important for Global Economy, Needs to Be Regulated and Taxed

After the G20 summit that took place last week, the global community learned that G20 leaders believe the cryptocurrency is worth bringing up in reference to the sustainable development of the global economy. In this analysis, Cointelegraph looks at how the G20 member states see their role in both crypto regulation and taxation.

EOS Community Is Challenged After Node Announces Financial Rewards for Votes

After various previous centralization scandals surrounding altcoin EOS, a new issue has surfaced, with one of their Block Producers (BP) allegedly offering money in exchange for voting them as a proxy in a thinly veiled “gamification.” Cointelegraph delves into the BP, Starteos, and how its offer of crypto for votes was received in the EOS community.

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Inside Chilean Power Battle: Crypto Exchanges vs. State Banks

The prerequisites and aftermath of the Supreme Court decision regarding crypto exchanges accounts.

On Monday, Dec. 4, the Chilean Supreme Court welcomed the decision of state-owned Banco del Estado to close the accounts of local cryptocurrency exchange Orionx. The new phase in the legal battle between the banks and several crypto exchanges — including Buda.com and CryptoMarket (CryptoMKT), which had appealed against the denial of services — may look somewhat sinister from the outside. But the main players of the Chilean crypto market assured Cointelegraph that the recent decision could not prevent them from operating in the country.

Exchanges vs. banks — a brief outline of the confrontation

In March, two crypto exchanges — Buda and CryptoMKT — came out with a joint statement, claiming that some banks in Chile had closed their accounts. “We are killing the whole industry long before exploring it and understanding its approach,” the release read. CryptoMKT also claimed that another bank received instructions not to deal with anyone who is related to cryptocurrencies. Both crypto businesses then urged the Chilean Association of Banks (ABIF), which coordinates all the private and foreign financial institutions in the country, to intervene — or at least clear up its stance on cryptocurrencies.

A response was given within a few days of the statement: The president of ABIF, Segismundo Schulin-Zeuthen, told Chilean business outlet Diario Financiero that the banks were free to moderate relations with their clients. Schulin-Zeuthen also criticized Buda and CryptoMKT for “[generating] false judgments about the institutional role of the ABIF,” while the association’s role consisted of discussing and analyzing existing regulation in the finance sector.

The bank that closed the crypto exchanges’ accounts was soon revealed to be Itau Corpbanca, the fifth-largest bank in Chile, along with a branch of Latin American banking giant Itau Unibanco and Scotiabank Chile, a branch of a Canadian banking group by the same name. They were soon joined by Banco del Estado — the only public bank in the country managing up to $52 billion in assets, as of 2017.

Later in April, Itau Corpbanca opposed the crypto industry’s stance that the move was illegal and insisted that the closure of accounts result in an internal investigation. According to Itau, Buda had failed to comply with their Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policy. Moreover, the bank accused the exchange of failing to verify the users’ data, as Buda’s website only requested basic information during the registration and did not verify the identities of its clients.

The whole story, including the media coverage and official responses, fueled a huge backlash on social media. As Cointelegraph reported in April 2018, crypto enthusiasts blamed financial institutions for “a huge negative blow to Chile’s reputation as a rational, innovation-friendly, free market economy,” stating that those actions “stifle innovation.” Twitter users created a hashtag #ChileQuiereCrypto (Chile wants crypto), urging the government to resolve the problem with crypto exchanges.

Chilean Banks Against Crypto Exchanges

In mid-April, the Chilean crypto exchanges decided to fight for their rights and started a legal battle, applying to Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia (TDLC) — an independent, anti-monopoly institution established to ensure that free competition rules are not violated. Buda and CryptoMkt, joined by Orionx (whose accounts had also been closed), had filed a petition against several banks, including Itau Corpbanca, Scotiabank and Banco del Estado.

Guillermo Torrealba, Buda’s co-founder and CEO, summed up the whole turmoil in an comment for Cointelegraph:

“There hasn’t been one regulator, legislator or government official saying that cryptocurrencies aren’t legal, it was just the decision of a very powerful sector of the economy: the banking industry.”

Blockchain regulation instead of crypto promises

Only a few weeks after the first complaint, TDLC ruled against Banco del Estado and Itau Corpbanca, forcing them to re-open Buda’s accounts.

Later in June, the same decision was made in favor of Orionx. As the company wrote on its official Facebook page, the anti-monopoly court ordered Banco del Estado and Banco de Chile — another major bank in the country that was mentioned in the initial lawsuit — to reopen Orionx’s accounts within three days.

It would be logical to assume that the long-term battle would force Chilean authorities to introduce relevant legislation on cryptocurrencies to prevent such situations in the future.

In late March, following the first news of the closure of the crypto accounts, Diario Financiero spoke to Chile’s Minister of Finance Felipe Larrain. He was reassured that both the Ministry and the Central Bank of Chile had started exploring the possibility of crypto regulation to normalize the situation:

“Technical progress and the digital economy bring people new services; we have to consider this fact. But when the regulation issues arise […], we have to avoid situations that could affect the normal development of markets and healthy competition.”

Chile’s central bank reaffirmed that intention in May. Mario Marcel, the president of the institution, proposed incorporating the crypto regulation in order “to allow having a registry of participants in these activities and thus have information to monitor the associated risks.” Marcel also stated that the industry needed more transparency and consumer protection — as cryptocurrencies could possibly be involved in illicit activities, such as money laundering and the financing of terrorists.

Six months after the recent claim, there is still no sign of a legal framework for cryptocurrencies in Chile. In October, local deputies instead introduced a resolution on blockchain adoption to the lower house of the country’s parliament. Miguel Angel Calisto and Giorgio Jackson — along with eight other MPs — urged Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera to implement blockchain in all the country’s public areas, along with carrying out studies on the advantages of decentralized security and energy solutions.

The Supreme Court comes into play

A new, unexpected chapter began on Dec. 4, when the Chilean Supreme Court published its resolution in favor of Banco del Estado. As cited by major Chilean newspaper El Mercurio, the document reads:

“The resolution taken July 11, 2018, is revoked. It is declared in its place that the protection appeal filed by Orionx SPA against the Banco del Estado is rejected.”

The Supreme Court further explained that the actions conducted by Banco del Estado were not “unjustified” or “illegal,” as the bank acted correctly and did not violate any rules of the Chilean constitution. Moreover, the top court stated that the cryptocurrencies “have no physical manifestation and no intrinsic value.” The document also proclaimed that they are controlled neither by a government nor by a corporation, citing the characteristics of crypto as reasons for letting banks refuse services to the exchange.

No pasaran: How Chilean crypto exchanges treat the highest court’s decision

Despite the apparent harshness of the Supreme Court’s decision, Chilean crypto exchanges believe it will have no bearing on the case. Reacting to the aforementioned resolution, Orionx published a statement on their official Facebook page:

“Orionx wants to clarify that this ruling does not imply the closure of the company’s current bank accounts. [D]ue to the fact there is a current precautionary measure issued by TDLC, which prevents banks from closing the mentioned accounts.”

Moreover, Orionx emphasizes that it disagrees with the arguments provided by the Supreme Court and regrets the latest ruling.

Buda shares the same stance, also citing the ruling of the anti-monopoly court in its official statement:

“The valid ruling in our favor pronounced by TDLC assures that our bank accounts will be maintained during the trial that is held in the mentioned court.”

Moreover, the firm insists that the Supreme Court’s resolution on Orionx has nothing to do with their company. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Buda’s co-founder Agustin Feuerhake said:

“The situation with Buda.com has been slightly different. Since [the] very beginning[,] we had a relevant KYC [Know Your Customer] policy. We also tackle money laundering and terrorism financing, so the bank’s argument to close an account does not apply to our case. There are no anonymous users on Buda.com.”

Feuerhake further added that the Chilean courts are not evaluating the ban on crypto exchanges, but rather seek ways to “condemn banks for abusive behavior” toward them.

As the decision of the Supreme Court did not mention Buda and CryptoMKT, it might be a turning point in the plot. The legal framework for crypto, if introduced, could side with crypto exchanges or stand with the banks.

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Chile: Crypto Exchange Loses Ongoing Legal Battle in Supreme Court Ruling

Chilean Supreme court cancels previous rulings, allowing a state-owned bank to close the account of local crypto exchange Orionx.

The Chilean Supreme Court has ruled against crypto exchange Orionx, allowing a state-owned bank to close its account, local news outlet Emol reported Dec. 4.

The third chamber of the high court has revoked the decision taken in July that had guaranteed protection to Orionx and forced local state-owned bank Banco del Estado to reopen its account. The new judgement cited by Emol states that the bank acted correctly and did not violate any rules of the Chilean constitution.

In the decision, the judge also claimed that cryptocurrencies “have no physical manifestation and no intrinsic value.” The document states that they are controlled neither by government nor by a corporation, citing the characteristics as reasons for letting banks refuse services to the exchange. The court decision explains that the nature of cryptocurrencies prevents banks from receiving detailed information on transactions, customers and companies that interact with the assets.

In addition to that, the supreme court raised the question of the illicit use of cryptocurrencies, claiming that crypto was involved in money laundering and terrorism financing. Given all these considerations, the bank’s closure of Orionx’s accounts was found legal.

It was not immediately clear if the court’s decision is applicable to other two crypto exchanges that have filed complaints this year regarding similar closures.  

The litigation started in mid-April 2018, when local crypto exchanges BUDA, Orionx, and CryptoMarket (CryptoMKT) applied to an appeals court to confront two banks, private Itau Corpbanca and state-owned Banco del Estado, that had shut down their platforms’ accounts. BUDA’s co-founder and CEO Guillermo Torrealba claimed at the time that the banks’ decision to close accounts was “killing the entire industry.”

In April and in July, the Antimonopoly Court and the Court of Appeals consecutively ordered Itau Corpbanca and Banco del Estado to reopen the accounts of Buda and Orionx.

In May, the president of the Central Bank of Chile Mario Marcel announced the institution was considering elaborating a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, in order to manage the risks associated with crypto trading. In October, Chilean MPs introduced a resolution on blockchain adoption that did not focus on cryptocurrencies.

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President of Chile’s Central Bank Considers Cryptocurrency Regulation, Says It Is Useful for ‘Monitoring Risks’

Mario Marcel, the president of Chile’s Central Bank, is considering regulating cryptocurrencies in the country in order to monitor risks, local news outlet El Economista reported Tuesday, May 15.

Cryptocurrencies in Chile are not currently considered as money or securities, but there are no laws in place that prevent citizens from exchanging crypto for goods and services.

During a forum of the Finance Commission of Deputies, Marcel said that “incorporating regulation will allow having a registry of participants in these activities and thus have information to monitor the associated risks”:

“These activities could be developed under more robust standards and mechanisms, especially in terms of market transparency, consumer protection, and prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.”

At the end of March, Chilean crypto exchange Buda and Crypto MKT asked the Chilean Association of Banks (ABIF) to provide a clear position on crypto and crypto trading after some of their accounts were closed by various Chilean banks.

In mid-April, three Chilean crypto exchanges – Buda, Orionx, and Crypto MKT – went to an appeals court to protest this closure, which was seen by some as the banks using their power to curtail the cryptocurrency industry. At the end of April, Chile’s anti-monopoly court ruled that Buda’s accounts must be reopened at state bank Banco del Estado de Chile and Itau Corpbanca.

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Banks And Cryptocurrencies Global Evaluation: Americas

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman Chris Giancarlo said he doesn’t see comprehensive crypto legislation coming from the federal level in the near future, CNBC reported April 30. Earlier this day, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Robert Jackson called the initial coin offerings (ICO) market a prime example of an unregulated securities market vis-a-vis the issue of consumer protection in ICOs.

These statements can be read as another sign of the inevitable future regulation of cryptocurrencies. A common trend seems to show that there’s no turning back from government oversight into crypto dealings, and the US, Canada, and other players in the western hemisphere are paving the way for global understanding and regulation of digital markets.

The following assessment of cryptocurrency regulation in the Americas is part of a larger series of pieces evaluating regulation of the flourishing global fintech industry. Part one of the series looks at activity in Asian hotspots like Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, and how governments are facilitating or hindering growth. Part two examined crypto regulation and the critical attitudes held by many European leaders.

The list below is based on thorough news research, but should in no way be considered complete. If you have more detailed information on banks and the crypto relationship in your country, we encourage you to share it in the comment section.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision

LEGEND

 

The United States

The United States

In terms of regulation in the US, all eyes are on the SEC and CFTC. These federal agencies, which are tasked with both protecting investors and facilitating open, transparent, and competitive financial markets, will play a significant role in facilitating mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency.

Crypto assets are currently subject to securities laws under the Securities Act 1933, but the outdated regulatory framework makes governing many diverse business plans tricky.  The SEC requires trading platforms to register as exchanges with the agency, for lack of better characterization, digital assets are defined as securities and fall under the jurisdiction and regulatory purview of the SEC.

Another important federal agency in the mix is the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which considers cryptocurrency as property for federal tax purposes. It formed an investigative team in Feb. 2018, which will scrutinize fiat exchanges for tax evasion and work alongside international criminal agencies to investigate unlicensed exchanges.

Likewise, the American banking sector is taking a cautious approach to crypto dealings. Prominent US.banks JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup initiated a global trend to ban the purchase and transfer of virtual currencies with debit and credit cards in February. JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup cited the fluctuating price of Bitcoin and general volatility of the crypto market as reason for the changes in policy, however, they have voiced a willingness to review policies as the market evolves.

Some banks are refusing to process international wire transfers for accounts associated with cryptocurrency, and some decline Bitcoin futures trading on US exchanges. In many instances, businesses associated with cryptocurrency are having difficulty forming constructive relationships with banks.

However, Goldman Sachs, the poster child of the traditional banking sector, recently hired a crypto trader as vice president of digital asset markets after increasing client demand for access to the new tech arena. Various Goldman Sachs and Wall Street executives are reportedly leaving their careers in traditional banking for work in the cryptocurrency sector.

Although many prominent banks have moved to ban use of virtual currency, this doesn’t mean they are opposed to the technology. Blockchain networks could eliminate high structural costs of financial services, provide a shared ledger that minimizes risk for banks, and strengthen regulatory reporting of banking activity.

The US based tech company R3 first initiated a Blockchain project to build a new operating system for the banking industry in late 2015, since then over 70 of the world’s largest financial institutions have joined forces to lead research and development of distributed ledger technology. The group announced the pilot launch of a trade finance platform in February, which aims to develop an open-trade finance network to simplify processing across supply chains.

JP Morgan quit R3 in April to develop its own interbank payment platform, Quorum, using the Ethereum Protocol. JP Morgan and the National Bank of Canada successfully tested the Blockchain platform this month, which is described as enterprise-focused and uses distributed ledger technology to provide transparent access to regulators while protecting the privacy and anonymity of customers.

The United States Postal Service filed a patent last September with provisions for a Blockchain-based system to authenticate user information and secure online transactions, which marks a trend of more companies filing Blockchain patents in the US.

 

Canada

Canada

The cryptocurrency industry operating in Canada’s highly developed economy existed for years without much government interest, but Canadian authorities have jumped on the regulation bandwagon after global financial agencies began applying more scrutiny to virtual exchanges and fraudulent ICOs earlier this year.

Canada’s Standing Committee on Finance, FINA, passed amendments on pre existing finance laws in 2014 to update laws to include cryptocurrency, require crypto firms to register with the agency, and prohibit banks from dealing with businesses not registered with the agency.

The changes have not gone into effect but FINA is reviewing the amendments that were passed and potentially applying more regulations. The committee publishes proposed regulations every Saturday through the government publication, the Gazette.

Crypto advocates play an active role in assuring regulations properly address shortcomings of the industry without hindering its growth, and are invited to provide testimonies at FINA committee hearings. While Bitcoin itself is not regulated, advocates urge regulators to consider how peripheral businesses that individuals use to access virtual markets exert substantial influence.

Canadian crypto firms have not seen as much government involvement and investigation of ICOs in comparison to their American counterparts, but as of April 6, the Ontario Securities Commission made various inquiries into the operations of crypto firms and may begin enforcing pre existing securities laws. In line with attitudes of the US SEC, Canadian regulations will seek to facilitate the growth of the crypto industry, not restrict.

Banks, on the other hand, have different concerns. The Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank and Toronto Dominion Bank, three of Canada’s biggest, banned purchase of cryptocurrency with debit and credit cards in February, following the lead of US banks.

Despite the ban, a fintech company based in Vancouver, Mogo, announced it will provide a simplified service for Canadians to buy and sell Bitcoin just days after major banks banned exchanges.

On a separate note, the Canadian government and banks have both taken an interest in Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). The government announced the launch of a Blockchain-based system, Known Traveler Digital Identity, which provides a secure platform for cross-border travelers to transfer personal information to government agencies.  

The Royal Bank of Canada announced it will allow purchase of virtual currency only under certain circumstances. However, the bank also filed a patent last year for a Blockchain-based credit score platform used to make credit score calculations more transparent.

Likewise, Toronto-Dominion Bank filed a Blockchain patent with the US in 2016 for a new point-of-sale system to digitally track asset transfers.

Canada’s first ever Blockchain-based Exhange Traded Fund received approval from Canadian authorities earlier this year. The fund began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange in February and deals with various DLT corporations.

The Canadian Securities Exchange introduced a Blockchain-based securities clearing and settlement platform to enable companies to issue equity and debt through tokenized securities in February. The issuance of security tokens will be subject to regulation by the securities commission.

The National Research Council of Canada also announced its experimentation with the Ethereum Blockchain in January to test the use of public Blockchains in the transparent administration of government grants and funding.

 

Mexico

Mexico

The crypto industry has a promising future in Mexico, which been named as a leader in Latin America. More than half of the population doesn’t have access to traditional banks accounts and rapidly eroding citizen trust in financial institutions presents a big opportunity for crypto platforms in the future. Only 50 fintech companies were operational in 2015, but by 2017 that number reached over 2,000.

Mexico’s senate passed a bill to regulate cryptocurrencies, and is awaiting President Pena’s signature, to legitimize its use, and promote stability in the market. The bill requires crypto operators to register with the Bank of Mexico as ‘Financial Technology Institutions,’ and will be regarded as equals to banks.

The bill addresses crowdfunding and designates the Bank of Mexico as the the final arbiter of which cryptocurrencies will be allowed on the country’s exchanges.

The legislation follows warnings from Mexico’s central bank in late 2017 that Bitcoin is a risky investment and clients should be cautious of scam ICOs.

The legislation was drafted in general terms and it is expected that regulators like National Banks and Securities Commission, the central bank and financial authorities will add specific provisions for companies dealing in the industry.

The Mexican government announced a Blockchain project designed to track public contracts and provide transparency to the public tender process. The country is approaching election season and a presidential candidate was quoted saying he would fight government corruption with Blockchain.

 

Argentina

Argentina

Bitcoin received a warm welcome when it was first unleashed in Argentina in 2015 after a newly elected President lifted stringent monetary policies from the previous administration. Citizens felt ‘betrayed’ by the manipulated exchange rates and severe inflation of their national currency, and Bitcoin provided a fresh start for the country’s finances.

Argentina’s Central Bank governor was responsible for proposing the July 2018 deadline for regulatory proposals at the G20 summit last month.

The government has also shown an interest in Blockchain and uses a timestamp platform, Dapp, in certain elements of weekly bulletin reports.

Rofex, the largest futures market in Argentina, is considered offering Bitcoin futures to its’ clients as interest in cryptocurrency has grown exponentially since last year.

 

Brazil

Brazil

Cryptocurrency could prove to be a life changer in Brazil, where many don’t have access to traditional banks accounts or adequate financial services.

Brazil’s largest investment firm filed documents with the Department of Federal Revenue to launch an over-the-counter Bitcoin exchange amidst a crackdown on crypto exchanges by major banks in the country. Banks are reportedly closing accounts and suspended  services to national exchanges, due to lack of “commercial interest” and concern of illicit activity.  

Despite the recent change in policy, the cryptocurrency in Brazil is well established and particularly essential for the population.

In February, a mobile financial service provider, Airfox, released a free app for Brazilians as an answer to the country’s expensive and bureaucratic banking system.

CoinBr, a Brazilian crypto company, partnered with an up-and-coming currency, Dash, and will be provided in over 13,000 locations across the country.

In other interests, cryptocurrency is subject to the authority of the Brazilian tax authority, which considers virtual currency property and requires investors to report capital gains for taxes. Crypto businesses and exchanges are regulated by the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) which prohibits local investment funds from buying Bitcoin, and requires exchanges to comply with AML laws.

The former president of Brazil was jailed for his involvement in a government sponsored Bitcoin-based money laundering scheme, in which he misappropriated nearly $22.4 mln of government funds.

Since the political turmoil of the scandal, the Brazilian government has invested in a Blockchain-based mobile app that will function as a registry system for signatures and petitions.

The Central Bank of Brazil partnered with the American-based R3 Blockchain alliance, and is using its’ Corda platform to develop Blockchain for different elements of the country’s current financial infrastructure. The bank is also developing proofs-of-concept on four other platforms and focus on using Blockchain for real time gross settlement systems

The government also created a Blockchain-based land-titling system as a platform for registering property ownership. The initiative aims to curb illegal development of land in the Amazon rainforest.

 

Venezuela

Venezuela

Venezuela, a country plagued by hyperinflation and a struggling economy, issued an oil-backed national cryptocurrency, Petro, in February, in an effort to attract foreign investors.

President Nicolas Maduro ordered businesses and government services to accept cryptocurrency and Petro earlier this year. But the order was at odds with the Venezuelan Parliament which declared cryptocurrency illegal just weeks earlier. Critics in parliament argue Maduro is using Petro as a means to skirt US sanctions.

Further, Petro’s release was immediately met with conflict. Bitfinex, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, release a statement condemning and restricting Petro use on the platform due to the US sanctions on Venezuela. President Trump also banned american citizens from purchasing Petro in March as part of a campaign to pressure the country’s autocratic leadership.

Venezuelans are heavily investing in Bitcoin and altcoins to salvage what value remains in their holdings of the national currency, Bolivar.

Mining increased exponentially in response to the devastating inflation of the national currency, but the government reportedly arrested many suspected miners before establishing concrete rules on the practice. The government requires cryptocurrency miners to register on an online registry, which was created at the end of last year and is seen as the first steps toward crypto regulation.

The government continually pushes support for Petro, and even created a cryptocurrency training course for citizens to learn how to buy, sell, and trade Petro.

 

Chile

Chile

Two cryptocurrency exchanges requested the Chilean Association of Banks to clarify regulations after the firms’ corporate accounts were rejected by multiple banks in the country.

Chilean banks have been closing similar accounts “out of fear or lack of information” on cryptocurrencies. The exchanges report they are registered with various Chilean agencies and comply with anti money laundering and anti-terrorist funding laws.

A banking executive noted the closures were not out of bias toward cryptocurrency, but reflect a wider banking policy to deny services to accounts that don’t meet the banks financial expectations.

As been reported on April 25, Chile’s anti-monopoly court ordered state bank Banco del Estado de Chile and Itau Corpbanca to re-open Buda’s accounts while the exchange’s lawsuit continues against 10 banks, including the aforementioned two.

Chile’s energy regulatory agency announced a project using the Ethereum Blockchain network to authenticate information in the nation’s energy grid. The agency’s executive secretary noted the transition to Blockchain was for concern of data security.

The project will provide public information on developments and will be instrumental in gaining public trust and understanding of Blockchain tech in South America.

 

Bolivia

Bolivia

The Bolivian Central Bank outright banned any currency or coins that were not either issued by or regulated through the government as early as in 2014. The bank specifically mentioned Bitcoin, Quark, Peercoin, Namecoin, Primecoin and Feathercoin in the announcement but the statement seemed to include all cryptocurrencies.

In the officials opinion, “It is illegal to use any kind of currency that is not issued and controlled by a government or an authorized entity.” The bank also said that citizens of Bolivia were prohibited from denominating prices in any non-approved currencies.

 

Ecuador

Ecuador

Ecuadorian government has had a firm negative stance on cryptocurrency over the last four years. On February 16, 2018 the national Central Bank issued a statement which informed the public that Bitcoin is not a means of payment authorized for its use in the country:

The financial transactions carried out through Bitcoin are not controlled, supervised or regulated by any entity in Ecuador, which is why its use represents a financial risk for those who use it. It is important to point out that the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies – like Bitcoin – through the Internet is not prohibited; However, it is emphasized that Bitcoin is not a legal currency and is not authorized as a means of payment of goods and services in Ecuador, as established in Article 94 of the Monetary and Financial Organic Code.

However, Ecuador has been officially developing its own national cryptocurrency system, the Sistema de Dinero Electrónico, since 2014. The Dinero Electrónico tokens are backed by the assets of Ecuador’s central bank, Banco Central del Ecuador, and pegged one-to-one to the US dollar, which is Ecuador’s national currency.

The first and the second volumes of our Banks and Crypto Evaluation were about Asia and Europe respectively.

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Court Forces Chile's Banks to Reopen Crypto Exchange Accounts

Chilean banks cannot close their doors on cryptocurrency exchanges just yet, a judge has ruled.

In late March, Bank Itau and state-owned bank Banco del Estado de Chile informed exchange Buda.com that its account would be closed. Eight other banks in the country also dropped crypto exchanges without explanation around the same time.

This prompted Buda.com to sue all 10 institutions for “the abuse of dominant position,” the company’s CEO, Guillermo Torrealba told CoinDesk in an interview.

After the initiation of the lawsuit, Torrealba said the banks claimed that they terminated the accounts due to a “lack of regulation, which is a very bad excuse,” he added, since, “they’re not the ones that decide what should be regulated and what [should] not.”

The banks later shifted their position and cited concerns over money laundering.

On Wednesday, though, the exchanges achieved a victory – if only a temporary one – when the country’s Free Market Court ruled that Bank Itau and Banco del Estado must reopen Buda.com’s accounts until the lawsuit concludes.

The decision is a “good sign of what the trial is going to be,” Torrealba said, adding that the ruling has importance for Chile more broadly:

“Basically the industry will continue to develop and it’s also very important for the country, not only for the cryptocurrency industry because banks here have too much control over everything. So the fact that they can just kill an industry – a whole industry, a whole technology – just because they didn’t like it is very risky for a country.”

Elsewhere in South America, several major Brazilian banks are also embroiled in lawsuits with crypto exchanges over closed accounts.

The issue is not confined to South America, either. The Reserve Bank of India recently announced that the institutions under its regulatory domain are prohibited from engaging with crypto-related firms. This prompted aspiring exchange CoinRecoil to file a petition with the High Court of Delhi in hopes of overturning the decision, with the next hearing due in May.

South Korea and Japan have also recently strengthened regulations governing exchange bank accounts by implementing anti-money-laundering and know-your-customer requirements.

Bitcoins and law image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Chilean Anti-Monopoly Court Orders Banks To Re-Open Crypto Exchange’s Accounts

Major Chilean cryptocurrency exchange Buda has persuaded a court to order the re-opening of its accounts at two major Chilean banks, Bloomberg reports April 25.

Chile’s anti-monopoly court published the ruling on its website, ordering state bank Banco del Estado de Chile and Itau Corpbanca to re-open Buda’s accounts while the exchange’s lawsuit continues against 10 banks, including the aforementioned two. Buda sued the banks after what it said was an “unjustified” closing of its accounts.

Earlier this month, a group of exchanges in Chile filed legal action against the banks’ decision to shut down their accounts. Buda, Orionx, and CrytpoMarket say that the banking system has taken unilateral action in Chile that’s “killing the entire industry.”

In an interview with Cointelegraph, Buda CEO Guillermo Torrealba said that while Chile would like to show itself as open and liberal to new technologies, the veneer is thin:

“Chile is showing its “B” side, that of being an extremely conservative country, even though we make huge efforts for the world to see us as liberals.”

According to Torrealba, despite an outcry in the media and on Twitter, banks refuse to respond. He says that the powerful banking sector is making the environment for cryptocurrency worse than Ecuador, Bolivia, or China.

Torrealba emphasized that there are no laws, rulings, or legislation that prevent crypto firms from operating normally, rather the banking sector has taken on the role of a hegemonic regulator:

“There hasn’t been one regulator, legislator or government official saying that cryptocurrencies aren’t legal, it was just the decision of a very powerful sector of the economy: the banking industry.”

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Chilean Banks vs Crypto Exchanges: Will Citizens Have Access to Technology?

Earlier this week, a group of cryptocurrency exchanges in Chile applied to the courts to fight the decision of banks to shut down their bank accounts. The exchanges, including Buda, Orionx, and CryptoMarket (CryptoMKT), state that the banking system in Chile is taking matters into their own hands and that they are “killing the entire industry.”

Banks Itau Corpbanca and Scotiabank announced the closure of the bank accounts of BUDA and CryptoMKT on March 19. A week later, the state-owned Banco del Estado de Chile followed the move by confirming the closure of the accounts of all three cryptocurrency exchanges.

Now, as the exchanges wait for their case to be heard, with some news set to emerge on April 20, according to BUDA’s co-founder and CEO Guillermo Torrealba. The exchanges are left puzzling as to why the banks feel they have the power to deny access to a new wave of technology.

Situation in Chile

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Torrealba outlines the cryptocurrency situation in Chile as precarious, and that the entire open and liberal feeling on this technology is not all as it seems:

“Chile is showing its “B” side, that of being an extremely conservative country, even though we make huge efforts for the world to see us as liberals.”

Torrealba explained that despite the outcry in the media, and even across Twitter, banks are refusing to respond or open their closed accounts. Moreover, according to Torrealba the banks, who seemingly have a large share of power in the country, are making the cryptocurrency environment worse than Ecuador, Bolivia or China:

“The banks have shown their darkest side. Restricting a whole country to access a technology just because they didn’t like it. This is even worse than Ecuador, Bolivia or China’s case, where the government was the one that took the initiative. Because you could judge the decision of a government, because, at the end of the day these players represent the people, and people are free to take whatever path they feel is right.”

Banks ruling over regulators

The issue for Torrealba is that the banks, by closing these accounts and effectively stopping the running of cryptocurrency exchanges, are slowing and prohibiting the progress of cryptocurrency in the country. There is no rule, law, or legislation against digital currency in Chile, yet the banks are operating like stern regulators.

“In Chile the story is different” Torrealba said. “There hasn’t been one regulator, legislator or government official saying that cryptocurrencies aren’t legal, it was just the decision of a very powerful sector of the economy: the banking industry.”

The reason that Torrealba is up in arms about this decision, and is going as far as to get the courts involved, is that he feels as if there has been a restriction on economic liberties.

“So why is this fight important? Because of economic liberty. But not even liberty from an abusive government, but liberty from a corrupt and overpowered financial industry which is protecting itself in the most archaic and prehistoric way: denying a technology in the most open and overly bold way they could find. [The banks are] so openly abusive that everyone agrees that what they’re doing is illegal but that isn’t enough for them to stop. They’re just too big to need to tread carefully, or to act inside the regulatory frame.”

Of course, Torrealba is directly affected by this banking blockade, and for that reason, has every reason to feel the way he does. His justifications may well be emotive, and perhaps inflammatory, however, he is not alone in thinking what he does.

Outsider reactions

There was a slew of reactions from Twitter users both inside and outside of Chile, with the general idea of banks setting the boundaries of cryptocurrency usage clearly getting under the skin of a number users.

But it was not only those reactionary tweets that found this move as odd. Barry Silbert, CEO and founder of Digital Currency Group, tweeted directly to the banks imploring them to change their decision.

Arthur Gervais, a Blockchain professor at Imperial College London and co-founder of Liquidity.Network also agrees with Torrealba about this being a degradation of fundamental rights. Professor Gervais told Cointelegraph:

“Traditional finance intermediaries are likely to experience a fundamental shift in their business models, which understandably creates tensions. The attempt, however, to censor decentralized technology, is not only likely to fail and a fundamental deprivation of human rights, but it’ll further empower and motivate those that develop novel Blockchain technology.”

Ongoing, and precedent setting

It will be interesting to see what comes of this case, and if the exchanges are successful. Cointelegraph will continue to update the story as and when news becomes available.

If the defence of cryptocurrencies as a right for people to access in terms of its technological aspects is successful, it could lead to a lot of fightback from others who are seeing their cryptocurrency businesses being unfairly limited.

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Chilean Crypto Exchanges Go To Court To Fight The Banks ‘Killing An Entire Industry’

Chilean cryptocurrency exchanges BUDA, Orionx, and CryptoMarket (CryptoMKT) have recently applied to an appeals court to confront the banks that shut down their platforms’ accounts, Bloomberg reported Friday, April 13.  The court has agreed to hear the case, but the bank accounts are still closed.

According to local news outlet Emol, the banks Itau Corpbanca and Scotiabank announced the closure of the bank accounts of BUDA and CryptoMKT on March 19. A week later, the state-owned  Banco del Estado de Chile followed the move by confirming the closure of the accounts of all three crypto exchanges.

The Chilean cryptocurrency community launched the tag on Twitter #ChileQuiereCryptos (Chile Wants Crypto) to support the industry and retain the ability for citizens to buy and trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), as well as locally launched coins Chaucha and Luka. Twitter user Hernán Maureira condemned the banks’ actions towards the crypto industry, claiming that “while the world is running hand in hand with this technology, Chile takes a step back.”

BUDA’s co-founder and CEO Guillermo Torrealba comments that the banks’ decision to close accounts is “killing the entire industry.” According to Bloomberg, BUDA exchange traded around $1 mln daily before its bank account was closed. Torrealba continued:

“It won’t be possible to buy and sell crypto in a safe business in Chile. We’ll have to go back five years and trade in person. It seems very arbitrary.”

On March 27, BUDA and CryptoMKT published a public statement asking the Chilean Association of Banks (ABIF) to clarify its stance on cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency trading. However, the institution claimed that it is not responsible for resolving the problem between banks and crypto exchanges, stating that such regulations are the “exclusive competence of each institution.”

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Chile Is Using Ethereum's Blockchain to Track Energy Data

Chile will use ethereum’s blockchain as a way to record energy sector statistics, its government announced Thursday.

The National Energy Commission, which is a part of the country’s Energy Ministry, said it would commit data to the public ethereum ledger in order to “augment levels of security, integrity, traceability and confidence in the information available to the public,” according to a statement.

The commission is particularly concerned that its databases can be hacked and manipulated. The ethereum-based approach represents an alternative method for data storage, given that distributing records among a large number of nodes helps to alleviate that concern.

The commission has already begun committing some data to the blockchain, including information about installed electricity-generating capacity, average market prices, marginal costs, hydrocarbon prices and compliance with laws requiring that renewables account for a certain share of electricity generation.

Following this first stage of the project, known as “Energia Abierta” or “Open Energy,” the commission will study the results and share them with other companies and government bodies in the sector.

Susana Jimenez, Chile’s energy minister, said in a statement:

“We are interested in taking this technology from a conceptual level to a concrete case, understanding that it’s considered to be the most disruptive technology of the last decade by world-class experts, and that it could be part of day-to-day life in the next few years.”

The commission’s decision to use an open blockchain like ethereum as opposed to a so-called permissioned network stands out. The statement explained that having “hundreds of thousands of servers” authenticating the data makes it more trustworthy and difficult to alter.

Note: Statements in this article were translated from Spanish.

Power lines image via Shutterstock.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.